[Bam Bam Brown and The Wild Professors jamming it out at The House of Machines. PHOTO: Vanartist]

South African musician, Bam Bam Brown, has checked off a fair number of items on his personal and musical bucket list over the course of his career. Currently, he is most interested in environments and experiences from which he can extract his most authentic creative ideas.

Brown sat down with us to talk about what motivates him, the state of local music, his future releases, a possible European tour and even an update on the Wild Professors.

Local is lekker

According to Brown, he is enjoying the current “page-turning phase” that the industry is going through, post-pandemic. “If I may be blunt, creative industries, in particular, may sometimes need to have their cages rattled, just to clean out any obstacles or redundancies that can result from overly relying on trend-chasing to produce results,” he says. 

Bam Bam Brown

[Bam Bam Brown performing at Aandklas in Stellenbosch earlier this year. PHOTO: Inus Grobler]

He has noticed that more and more music venues are opening up and that nowadays, local musicians can easily produce work of a global standard. “With that in mind, it’s pretty clear that the average South African still doesn’t necessarily prioritise investing in local music, which would massively benefit the efforts of a lot of other industries as a result,” he adds.

Brown believes there is no need to revive the local music scene because it’s still going strong. “I think even that shift in mentality could help encourage a lot of people to invest in local music. By and large, most locals are led to believe that the standard of our music is sub-par compared to international artists, and nothing could be further from the truth in the present day,” he explains. 

However, he feels a better bridge needs to be built between local music consumers and music suppliers alike — which would be best built from both sides. “We need to wean out a fair amount of gatekeeping and nepotism in the industry. I completely understand why and how it exists, but it’s inherently toxic for any industry, especially ones with so much potential for growth,” he says.

What’s next?

Single releases and a prospective European tour are just two of Bam Bam Brown’s many ambitious plans for the remainder of this year into 2023. Brown says that the sound he is currently aiming for is something you could “drink wine and dance with your Grandma” to. “Earlier this year I sent one of my singles [Makhado] to my aunts to see if they could step to it comfortably before sending it off for final release. So if you hear a new Bam single next year, send it to your aunty for quality control,” he says jokingly.

Brown says he has a lot of “creative ammo loaded” for the singles he plans to put out in the new year. “[However,] I’m also at a place where I choose my shots very carefully. There are 100 000 new songs uploaded to streaming services daily, so I guess I’ve adopted more of a ‘quality over quantity’ ethos with this act,” he explains.

Bam Bam Brown

[Bam Bam Brown performing at The House of Machines. PHOTO: Vanartist]

Brown has been fortunate enough to do some touring overseas — mostly in a solo capacity. Currently, a European tour is definitely on the cards for Bam Bam Brown at some stage. However, since most of his current fans are in the Americas, he has also thought about doing a tour there. “My actual long-term dream is to be able to play, perform and produce throughout African countries and in the East, and I’ve ticked off a fair amount of these so far as well,” he adds.

Paying it forward

Brown is currently at a point in his life where he has a wealth of experience to draw from, and he is working to strike a balance between giving back to the community and continuing to grow creatively. At the moment, he is involved with a handful of other young acts — such as Orah & The Kites and Face & The Features. “I really believe in [them] — as people and as musicians — so I’m also trying to give them as much time and energy as possible,” he says.

Bam Bam Brown

[Bam Bam Brown performing at Aandklas in Stellenbosch earlier this year. PHOTO: Inus Grobler]

His advice for anyone trying to make it in the local music scene is to tailor any business or music scene advice you find online to the specifics of the local market.

“I’d advise [them] to try and actually go out and figure out what spaces they’d like to be playing in, and to which audiences — as this will help you get a more definitive picture of the world you’re trying to create with your music, and will also give a better context of how that music is going to be received,” he explains.

Brown also hosts his own events in an effort to stimulate growth in the local scene; they are connected to a long-held goal of his, which he is slowly but surely working toward: organising his own festival.

‘Old ways don’t open new doors’

Bam Bam Brown is having their last live performance as a full band for the year on 5 November at The House of Machines’ 9th birthday celebration. For Brown, who has been on the road every summer for the past five years — even “the one where Cyril shut us down” — the choice to skip touring this year was a tough one. “However, I’m also a fan of the saying ‘old ways don’t open new doors’ so I’m quite keen to take on the next few months as a creative time and see what new music the summer brings,” he says.

Bam Bam Brown

[Bam Bam Brown has spent the last few years working quite intensely on his production and beat-making skills, swallowing a lot of hip-hop and soul from acts like Tyler The Creator and Kenny Beats. PHOTO: Stian Maritz]

If you can’t make Bam Bam Brown’s last Cape Town gig of the year, don’t miss Halloweird 2022 at The Daisy Jones Bar in Stellenbosch on October 29. Bam Bam Brown — and his Wild Professors — will be accompanied by Lo-ghost, Crosscurrent, Year of Dogs and Dirty Disco Records for a Halloween bash to end all Halloween bashes.


I can’t play any musical instruments or sing, so this is my contribution to the local music scene — which I love immensely. I can’t touch my toes, but that has held me back only slightly in life. My hobbies include reading, beer, bringing up Let’s Get Local when no one asked, writing, and surprising people with my pool skills. I believe somehow all of this will lead me to Dave Grohl.

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